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Music Production – When the Hearing is the Believing

Updated: Feb 26

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Music Production

Music Production - When the Hearing is Believing

On Friday I was fortunate to hear an arrangement that I had created played by a string quartet and hear their comments and feedback. I had created the arrangement on Sibelius and it sounded ok. However, I was nervous. Would it really be good enough when highly trained, talented musicians played it. This would be the point when the hearing is the believing. The moment of truth.

A love of strings

Since I first started listening to music there has been a special place in my heart for stringed instruments. I even married a violin player, although that was not the deciding factor. So, the last few months have been almost a spiritual journey, creating an arrangement of “House of the Rising Sun”. I wanted to keep the blues feel of the version recorded by “The Animals” but give it a strong string quartet flavour.

Listening unlocks ideas

After listening to some Viola Duets. I found that the Viola had the sound and range I wanted for the melody part and I was informed that this was unusual but not unheard of. Next was the bass motif that was iconic of the song. It was also one of the first things I learnt on guitar. So, I had the melody and the chordal movement sorted out. Then, how to make it more like a string quartet.

Wisdom guides the way

My lecturer said some things that I found very profound. They were – think of the parts as individual melodies that weave it and out of each other, and – you don’t have to have all the instruments playing all the time.

The results

The first rendition was not good. They played it at the designated tempo and it was rushed and awkward. On Sibelius it had sounded ok but it wasn’t in real life. After a discussion they played it 5 beats a minute slower (from 75 bpm to 70 bpm) and suddenly I was hearing what I had imagined. There was time for the movement and intricacies of the arrangement to shine.

In the coming days I will get a recording of the performance and I will cherish it for the rest of my life. I will my music production techniques to get the most out of the recording. I will offer it here and see if the hearing is the believing for you.

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